Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Midweek Muse - Kimberly Witham
Kimberly Witham is a New Jersey photographer who, through her grotesquely beautiful images of dead animals, creates new life for the roadkill she retrieves on her commute to work. As a rogue roadkill salvager myself, her creative vision and dedication to her subject is extremely inspiring. The vastness of this series, her commitment to collecting these animals, and the attention to detail in each photograph is almost as obsessive compulsive as the tidy housewife persona these works embody.
Kimberly arranges the deceased creatures contrastingly against floral backgrounds and domestic settings in a fashion reminiscent of traditional Vanitas paintings meets Stepford Wives. In her artist statement, Kimberly writes, “While these images are inspired conceptually by the Vanitas tradition, formally they are more akin to contemporary home and style magazines. In the pages of these magazines, products are arranged in clinical perfection. They promise relaxation, fulfillment and simplicity if we only buy one more thing. In contrast, my arrangements highlight both the promise of suburban comfort and the aftermath of our continued consumption.”
In an interview with Ravishing Beasts, Kimberly said, “The source material for these images is a combination of vanitas painting, natural history dioramas and Martha Stewart. I find there is a very peculiar relationship to nature which exists in the suburbs - deer are lovely in the woods and fields but not when they eat the tulips, bird feeders are great as long as birds eat the food - when a squirrel intrudes it is considered a nuisance, raccoons are very cute until they get into the trash cans, etc. I decided to take this one step further, using the creatures as a type of decoration. I joke that these images are a visualization of the dioramas that would be constructed if Martha Stewart and Carl Akeley had a love child.”
View more of her work at kimberlywitham.com